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2016 Danish Festival Grand Marshals Ruth Reed, left, and Marvel Linnan, smile and wave to the crowd during the Grand Dansk Parade Saturday. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Grand Dansk Parade an annual family tradition for many (PHOTOS)

Ann Bigler sat on West Cass Street Saturday morning, anxiously awaiting the start of the 2016 Danish Festival Grand Dansk Parade with her children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. It has long been a tradition in their family to visit the festival, browse around downtown and at Veterans Park and, of course, watch the parade.

Vendors and festivalgoers alike cleared out quickly Saturday afternoon after the city sounded the tornado siren after an official warning was issued by the National Weather Service. Daily News/Cory Smith

Threat of tornado clears out Danish Festival

Fear of a possible tornado drove throngs of people off the streets during the Danish Festival Saturday afternoon.
A severe weather system worked its way north through Montcalm County, after first striking Ionia, Kent, Ottawa, Allegan and Van Buren counties where as many as 5 tornadoes touched down, resulting in extensive damage.

The booths at a homeless simulation at Greenville Community Church on Wednesday represented the different services available for the homeless population. Participants had to seek out the services the need and try to find housing. —Daily News/Meghan Koglin

Project Connect, simulation shine light on homelessness

An event this week in Greenville may have been a simulation, but homelessness is a very real problem. “I heard last week that Kent County has a 1 percent housing availability — the tightest market in the nation. I bet we’re tighter in Montcalm County,” said Have Mercy Director Kim Cain at Wednesday’s Project Connect and homeless simulation at Greenville Community Church. “And it’s not just us. All of West Michigan is struggling like this.”

With the Ugly Duckling statue in the foreground at Heritage Park, the Michigan state flag, American flag and Danish flag, were raised Thursday evening during the opening ceremony of the 52nd annual Danish Festival. — Daily News/Cory Smith

52nd annual Danish Festival is underway in Greenville (PHOTOS)

A festival more than a half century in the making continues to go strong. The 52nd annual Danish Festival got underway per tradition with the raising of the flags — Michigan, United States and Danish — at Heritage Park next to Greenville City Hall.

Volunteers are already setting up this year’s Danish Festival, including sisters Jayden, left, and Madison Gibbons who are constructing tiaras as demonstration craft items for the Hans Christian Andersen Park kids events, which will include crafts and games for free Friday and Saturday at Tower Riverside Park in Greenville. — Daily News/Ryan Schlehuber

Volunteers make up the backbone of Danish Festival

With their red shirts, they blend into the Danish Festival crowd almost unnoticed. Without them, Greenville’s annual event couldn’t happen.

As many as 50 people — of all ages and range of experience — volunteer to help with the many events during Danish Festival, which begins Thursday and runs through Sunday. From the Princess for a Day event to the Grand Dansk Parade to the Tivoli Beer Gardens to the Exploring Danish Happiness traveling exhibit, all the festival events that happen throughout the city is only possible through the dedication of a volunteer program.

loc 0818 cs Greenville fire-2

JUST IN: Four apartments destroyed in fire at Pine Manor; no one injured

Several apartments were destroyed in a structure fire early Wednesday morning at the Pine Manor apartment complex, but all residents were able to escape safely.

According to Greenville Public Safety Sgt. and Fire Lt. Darren Jones, firefighters were dispatched at 3:38 a.m. to 1201 S. Cedar St. in Greenville, where a fire had started on the exterior of the apartment complex, behind apartments numbered 19 through 22.

Winning the crown of Miss Danish Festival 2016 Allison Harrison, seated, will reign with Prince Logan Foley, front left, and Princess Anna Morano, front right, First Runner-Up Mariah Meier, back left, and Second Runner-up Danielle Mahar, back right. — Daily News/Lori Hansen

CMU sophomore wins Danish queen crown

Allison Harrison learned how to make the best of both worlds. In 2014, as a Belding High School student, she participated in and won the Miss Belding Scholarship Pageant. As a resident of Greenville, she was also able compete in this year’s Miss Danish Festival Scholarship Pageant.

The Grattan Academy Board of Directors voted unanimously Monday to begin a consolidation effort that will close Grattan Elementary School, with all operations moving to the school district’s Eureka Township location, which will serve as a K-12 charter institution. The elementary school has been functioning since 1955. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Grattan Academy gets new name; elementary school building to be closed

After 20 years as a local educational institution, Grattan Academy Charter School is about to undergo two of the largest changes in its history.

During Monday evening’s Board of Directors meeting, board members voted unanimously to drop “Grattan” from the name entirely and to rename the school “Belding-Greenville Preparatory Charter Academy” as part of a new branding effort to change the image of the school.

Voters cast their ballots in the primary election at the Eureka Township Hall on Tuesday afternoon. — Daily News/Emilee Nielsen

Primary election sees decent voter turnout; 23 percent is most in decade

Montcalm County saw its highest voter turnout in a nonpresidential primary election in more than a decade Tuesday. A total of 23 percent of Montcalm County’s registered voters — 9,844 people — participated at the polls. Past primary elections saw 15 percent in 2014, 17 percent in 2012, 21 percent in 2010, 17 percent in 2008 and 11 percent in 2006.

Charlie Mahar, at right, explains his plans for the future if he is elected Montcalm County sheriff while fellow sheriff candidates Michael Williams, center, and Charles Noll, at left, listen during a primary election forum Monday evening in Greenville. The three Republicans are facing off in today’s election. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County candidates make final bid for votes before today’s election

The three candidates in the hottest race in Montcalm County were given one last chance to earn votes. Charlie Mahar, Charles Noll and Michael Williams had their final face off during a candidate forum Monday evening at Montcalm Community College’s Ash Technology Learning Center in Gr